The Mouse, by MacMice
Posted: 18-Jan-2004

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: MacMice Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

Overview
The Mouse by MacMice is a premium, state of the art USB mouse with carefully engineered balance and weight, 800 cpi tracking resolution, fast and responsive optical tracking, and a split-shell upper housing. The one-piece upper shell provides the appearance of the Apple mouse, while the subtle split in the shell provides two half surfaces acting as separate mousing buttons. The nicely muted semi-clear scroll wheel sits between the two split surface areas and also serves as a third button.

Mac System Requirements

  • Any PowerMac with a built-in USB port
  • Mac OS 8.5.1 - 9.2.2, or Mac OS 10.1 or later
  • Internet connection (to download drivers)


Test System

  • G4 Quicksilver
  • Mac OS 9.2.2 and Mac OS 10.3.1


Installation
Like other USB mice, basic installation was as simple as plugging the mouse into an available USB port (including the port on your USB keyboard). To program the right button and the scroll wheel, a software installation is required. Unfortunately, the mouse does not come with a software disk; instead, you are required to go to the
MacMice product web site to download the drivers (MouseCommand v9 for Mac OS 9 and MouseCommand v10 for Mac OS X). At the top of the products page, it states that the drivers are at the bottom of the page, but the download links are actually about 3rd from the bottom, somewhat obscured by product pictures above and below them. Once you get the correct driver downloaded, it's a breeze to install and setup the software.

In Use
The Mouse worked flawlessly in all my tests. The default sensitivity of the mouse movement and scroll wheel were slower than the settings I'm accustomed to, but a visit to the MouseCommand control panel (or preference panel) allows you to adjust both.

MacMice did an excellent job at designing the split shell such that the mouse maintains the image of Apple's mouse, but provides you left and right buttons that function similar to the single button of the Apple mouse (i.e., the button is the entire half of the mouse, not just an outlined square at the front of the mouse). The scroll wheel operates as a scroll wheel and 3rd mouse button similar to other scroll wheel mice. The optical mouse movement is well integrated into this product. Optical technology means that there are no moving parts that you need to worry about getting dirty or breaking down.

The look and feel of this mouse is identical to the Apple mouse, providing the same cool ice look, the same squarish oval shape, the same ergonomic feel, and optical mouse movement. For those who like Apple's design, but need or desire two-button and wheel functionality, this mouse gives you exactly what you have been hoping for. On the other hand, some people discard the Apple mouse not just because of the single-button operation, but also because they don't find the straight thin design ergonomically pleasing, not to mention the tinny click sound that the mouse emits. From this perspective, the design of the MacMice Mouse resembles the Apple mouse to the point of being a flaw. I have not yet seen a two-button mouse that both incorporates great ergonomics and matches the theme of new Macs and iMacs.

The software provides just about all the control you might look for in configuring the mouse. The control panel provides the ability to set the sensitivity of the mouse as well as the scroll wheel. With the left button set as a single click, and the right button set as a control-click, that leaves the wheel button available to be set for whatever function that is most appropriate to your work environment. It includes preset options such as Find, Close, and Delete, or you can pick an application to open. The one option missing that I noticed was a preset for Eject. In my situation, I find the ability to use the wheel button to do an eject on my CD-ROM drive to be of great use. In Mac OS 9, there is a work around in that you can set the button to open the Eject application. Unfortunately, there is no Eject application in OS X, so there was no way to program the wheel button to perform Eject. To be fair, the Microsoft Mouse preference panel does not support a preset for Eject either (and a 3rd button isn't even an option on the Apple mouse). Then again, the preference panel for the Logitech scroll wheel mouse does provide a preset option for Eject in OS X, so knowing that it can be done makes it a bit more frustrating that it wasn't available for this mouse.

Summary
It's true that some Mac users will always prefer the single button mouse that comes with every Apple system; whether due to being an extreme Apple follower, or simply never having experienced a two-button mouse. Regardless, more and more of us have become fans of the multi-button mouse, seeking the benefits of the "right-click" functionality as well as the useful scroll wheel. It wasn't long before Microsoft, Logitech, and others jumped into the ring with optical two-button scroll wheel USB mice for the Mac, all with there own designs. However, these designs were far from the theme carried with new Mac and iMac systems; hence, to get the function you desired, you had to abandon Apple's theme. The MacMice Mouse eliminates that need to compromise, providing the only mouse that gives you all of the functional advantages of a multi-button mouse without giving up the design theme of Apple's mouse. If you aren't impressed with the ergonomics of the Apple mouse, then the MacMice Mouse may not be for you. For those of you who desire the theme of Apple's mouse, but need the function of a multi-button mouse, this mouse is perfect for you.

Pros

  • Perfectly themed with the Apple mouse
  • Two-button and scroll wheel functionality
  • Optical technology
  • Programmable under both OS 9 and OS X

Cons

  • Poor ergonomics (just like the Apple mouse)
  • No preset for Eject
  • Lack of CD requires internet connection to get drivers


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice